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Archive for November 28th, 2016

jazz-day-cover

by Sam Juliano

An iconic photograph titled “Harlem 1958” is the inspiration for a vigorous, high-octane picture book, Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph, by Roxane Orgill, with illustrations by Francis Vallejo.  In an engaging introduction Orgill explains how a graphic designer and jazz aficionado Art Kane – who worked at Esquire Magazine – successfully sorted out against all reasonable odds the negotiation of the shot on a cordoned off 126th Street between Fifth and Madison Avenues in Manhattan on Tuesday, August 12th.  Esquire’s concerted effort in notifying musician’s unions and making contact with anyone connected to jazz players helped make this dream photograph materialize when attendance exceeded all reasonable expectations.  According to Orgill, Kane borrowed two cameras, one a Contrax 35 millimeter.  The shoot ran to almost five hours, as neighborhood  teenagers engaged in harassing mischief.  The author also reports that not all of the participants were or became famous, and that Jazz legend Duke Ellington was not on board.  Orgill’s detailed delineation of the facts surrounding this remarkable effort are wholly fascinating and they served to both broadly supplement the spirit  imparted in her own poetry -and the astounding art by Vallejo, whose first picture book this is – and but to serve as a singular inspiration for readers to embark on a listening journey of America’s most emblematic musical form.  As a treat for Jazz Day investigators, the full fold out of one of the most famous photos in American culture is showcased in all its pristine glory before a fantastic wealth of biographical supplements that include capsules of some of the most famous artists who appear before the camera. (more…)

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nocturnal-animals-banner-poster-1473972277

by Sam Juliano

With Turkey Day 2016 now part of history we move on to the Christmas season and a month of year-end awards and lists in all the arts.  Concurrently this is for most the busiest time of the year, one dominated by store and on-line shopping and traffics jams all over the place.  The Caldecott Medal Contender series continues to move forward, and I wished to thank all those who have placed comments and/or have read any of the seventeen essays that have been published so far.  The project will continue until the last week of January.

Lucille, Jeremy and I attended two book presentations in Manhattan on Saturday that featured author-illustrators Jerry Pinkney, Melissa sweet, Evan Turk, Pamela Zagrenski, Ron Barrett, Kuniko Y. Craft. Eric Dominguez and Julie Fogliano.  We also saw one new movie release in theaters, and traveled up to Sussex County to pick up our Christmas tree at a farm.  As always a fun family experience. (more…)

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